Travels With TL: 60 Miles (Away From Home)

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Yesterday Lynn and I went to Montrose. I could say we went with a song in our heart, or at least on the radio, but we didn’t. We went in her Jeep, with half a bag of Bugles to sustain us and, in the back, a pile of metal and the world’s most neurotic dog.

Now, I personally know people who make this drive routinely, and at least one hardy soul who does this as her daily commute to work. I also understand that for people in cities, a one-way commute of 75 minutes is probably routine. Heck, in an earlier year Lynn herself took a once-weekly class at the Montrose-Delta Vo-tech Center (now technically the Technical College of the Rockies).

Those days are gone, and we both returned home exhausted. (We could note here that prior to departure one of us had already worked six and a half hours, and the other two and a half, but we’ll just gloss over that part.)

But we went, and it was such an action-packed adventure that I’m sure you’ll enjoy hearing about it. If only I had some vacation slides to show you . . .

We almost didn’t make it out of town, and I drove several blocks in four-wheel low. It’s always hard to go from my smooth-driving Leaf to the rough-riding Jeep, but eventually it occurred to me that this was abnormal bumpiness. Good thing I noticed by the high school and not on a highway — that couldn’t be good for the longevity of the Jeep.

We made it to Montrose without any further difficulties, and first came a brief stop for durable medical equipment at Hartman Brothers. One can get this in Gunnison, but (even though insurance covered it) I still can’t get past that Air Options (now AeroCare) once charged almost double for the same equipment. So Hartman’s it is, even if it’s an inconvenient distance away — and I was rewarded with a marvelous model railroad running two trains just inside their door.

Then it was off to Recla Metals, which is always the highlight of any trip to Montrose for me. No, seriously.

Everyone who works there is a bit gruff, or perhaps even brusque (except for the resident cat we encountered one time), but they’re helpful enough and — this is the best part — you take them your trash, and they give you money. Yessir, one dollar and 72 cents for some old display stands, dead Christmas lights and phone cord, and an old printer — Tia and Narcissa, take note — that I voluntarily removed from our house.

I missed the scrap-metal sculpture of a vulture on the way in, and the replica of the Tin Man right in front of my nose (and no reliable photojournalist to provide photographic evidence) that Lynn pointed out, so someone there must have some sense of whimsy, even if we have yet to locate that person.

By now the Bugles were proving a poor substitute for lunch, so it was north to the airport, next to which is the A&W Slash Long John Silver’s — and an empty mudpatch in which to let a very whiny Ozzyx out of the car. I swear, this dog must be three-quarters bladder.

Arby’s used to be the Food Destination of Choice (well, that and Denny’s), but it was growing kind of pale even before it opened in Gunnison (so, no longer exotic), and in a fit of nostalgia for old Pat’s Screen Printing lunches in the park fortified by the then domestically-located A&W, we tried AW/LJS once. And now we keep going back.

I actually would be very happy to recommend this particular restaurant to anyone. Every time we have gone there, the staff is attentive, pleasant and efficient. The place is clean, and so far they’ve gotten our order right every time (which is hardly something we can say about New Arby’s here in Gunnison). For a fast-food place, the staff is remarkable. Even for a slow-food place.

Then we get to the traumatic portion of our journey:  we went to Home Depot.

[I should note that according to Oz, the entire trip was just one giant trauma. I have never had a dog who didn’t enjoy going along for the ride, until this one. Mind you, he can’t stand being left behind either.]

This was my second trip ever to Home Depot, and while I would be happy with it being my last, I’m afraid it and I will be getting to know each other much better here in the coming months.

It’s an overwhelming welter of home-building supplies, and every aisle represents a myriad of decisions we are going to have to make. Let’s just take bathroom vanities as one small example. There were several to choose from, and then you need to know how many inches wide you want it, and in what finish, plus what finish top, what shape and size of sink, and we haven’t even reached the faucet component. Here is the difference in approach between me and Lynn: she was sad that the vanities all came with drawer pulls already installed, so you didn’t get to choose your own. What is the matter with this woman?

Lynn is focused on appliances for her kitchen, although we got talked out of shopping too early for them. Yesterday, though, we were told — days after the Black Friday sale — that now Home Depot will hold delivery for up to six months. When Lynn checked, during the sale, it was three months. It’s all right: I’m not anywhere ready to spend big money on appliances for a kitchen we haven’t even met yet.

We did find an area rug we bought. It was the top one on the pile, and there wasn’t another one in the pile we liked. We aren’t really ready for area rugs either, but since it was the only one we liked, we decided we’d better get it while it was there and available. Plus, it let us use up the gift cards we got last Christmas.

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The clerk who did all the work for us at “self-checkout” was extremely helpful and nice, so I guess it wasn’t really too traumatic — and Oz was still waiting for us in the car even though I left a window open.

Perhaps the bigger trauma came at Target, where for the second time in a row the snack place with the pretzels was closed. What is the point, really, if you can’t get a hot soft pretzel?

Lynn managed to find phone pieces she’s been seeking in the dollar bins, and I scored shop gifts for everyone who worked while I was far away from home. The cat section had Jumbo-Stuff Temptations (which were a big hit when we got home, let me tell you), and Oz carted his new stuffed penguin around. You tell me: marketing ploy, or real?:  For $6.99, it came with a “supersonic squeaker” that humans can’t hear but dogs can.

We must have bought something else, because we walked out with our wallet $100 lighter, as happens at Target (oh, the Reese’s holiday trees I discovered last year and hadn’t found this year: peanut butter wrapped in white creme, yum).

And then we were, at long last, homeward bound (it felt like midnight, but it was really only 6), on a very dark road not heavily traveled except for the twistiest part of the road, when it became a super highway.

And this morning our 20% chance of snow (“dry conditions will persist”) has been falling lightly but steadily since I first looked out a window three hours ago, so it’s good that Lynn and TL had their excellent adventure yesterday. And aren’t you ever so glad you got to share it with us?



2 thoughts on “Travels With TL: 60 Miles (Away From Home)

  1. I so appreciate the daily read of your blog! Still feel connected to the valley and folks there. Love the sights and sounds you share.


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